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7 Wonders of the World

Pyramids of EgyptHanging Garden of BabylonStatue of Zeus
Temple of Artemis at EphesusMausoleum of Halicarnassus
Colossus of RhodesPharos of Alexandria

The Colossus of Rhodes

To you, O Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom.

This is the dedicatory inscription of the Colossus


        The Colossus of Rhodes was a 30-m (100-ft) bronze statue of the Greek sun god Helios, erected about 280 BC to guard the entrance to the harbor at Rhodes; it was destroyed about 55 years later.

 About Rhodes: Rhodes was the capital of the Greek island Rhodes and was built in 408 B.C. It was designed to take advantage of the island's best natural harbor on the northern coast. The island formed an important economic centre in the ancient world. It was located off the southwestern tip of Asia Minor where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean.

        In 357 B.C. the island was conquered by Mausolus of Halicarnassus (whose tomb is one of the other Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), It fell into Persian hands in 340 B.C.and got captured by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.. When Alexander died of a fever at an early age, his generals fought bitterly among themselves for control of Alexander's vast kingdom. Three of them, Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigous, succeeded in dividing the kingdom among themselves.


About the Statue:
        The Colossus however stood on a promentory overlooking the city; erected in about 280 BC by the citizens of Rhodes. It was said as high as 105 feet high. Legend has it that it straddled the entrance to the harbour, but it probably stood to one side. The statue of Liberty is sometimes referred to as the "Modern Colossus". The Statue of Liberty, roughly of the same size, weighs 225 tons. The Colossus, which relied on weaker materials, must have weighed more than the Statue of Liberty.

        This Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to America and is easily recognized by people around the world. However, what many visitors do not know is that the statue, the "Modern Colossus," is the echo of another statue, the original colossus that stood over two thousand years ago at the entrance to another busy harbor on the Island of Rhodes. Very alike the Statue of Liberty, this colossus was also built as a celebration of freedom.

        The Greek sculptor Chares worked for 12 years on the statue. He used stone blocks and about 7 1/2 short tons (6.8 metric tons) of iron bars to support the hollow statue. It was built in 280 BC,and unfortunately knocked down by an earthquake in 224 BC. The huge pieces were left where they fell and were looked upon with awe for centuries to come. Nearly a thousand years later, in AD 656, a scrap metal dealer bought the pieces and had them melted down.


        In its very past, Greece comprised of city-states that limited power beyond their boundary. Ialysos, Kamiros, and Lindos formed three such regions on the island of Rhodes. In 408 BC, the cities united to form one territory, with a unified capital, Rhodes. The city thrived commercially and had strong economic ties with their main ally, Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt.

        In 305 BC, the Antigonids of Macedonia who were also rivals of the Ptolemies, besieged Rhodes in an attempt to break the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance.

        The Rhodians supported Ptolemy (who wound up ruling Egypt) in this struggle. This angered Antigous who sent his son Demetrius to capture and punish the city of Rhodes.

        The war was long and painful. Demetrius brought an army of 40,000 men. This was more than the entire population of Rhodes. He also augmented his force by using Aegean pirates.

        The city was protected using a strong, tall, wall and the attackers were forced to use siege towers to try and climb over it. Siege towers were wooden structures often armed with catapults that could be moved up to a defender's walls to allow the attackers to scale them. While some were designed to be rolled up on land, Demetrius used a giant tower mounted on top of six ships lashed together to make his attack. This tower, though, was turned over and smashed when a storm suddenly approached. The battle was won by the Rhodians.

        Demetrius had a second supertower built. This one stood almost 150 feet high and some 75 feet square at the base. It was equipped with many catapults and skinned with wood and leather to protect the troops inside from archers. It even carried water tanks that could be used to fight fires started by flaming arrows. This tower was mounted on iron wheels and could be rolled up to the walls.

        When Demetrius attacked the city, the defenders stopped the war machine by flooding a ditch outside the walls and miring the heavy monster in the mud. By then almost a year had gone by and a fleet of ships from Egypt arrived to assist the city. Demetrius withdrew quickly leaving the great siege tower where it was.

        As a mark of celebrating their victory and freedom, the Rhodians decided to build a giant statue of their patron god Helios. They melted down bronze from the many war machines Demetrius left behind for the exterior of the figure and the super siege tower became the scaffolding for the project. According to Pliny, a historian who lived several centuries after the Colossus was built, construction took 12 years. Other historians place the start of the work in 304 B.C..




        The project was commissioned by the Rhodian sculptor Chares of Lindos. To build the statue, his workers cast the outer bronze skin parts. The base was made of white marble, and the feet and ankle of the statue were first fixed. The structure was gradually erected as the bronze form was fortified with an iron and stone framework. To reach the higher parts, an earth ramp was built around the statue and was later removed. When the colossus was finished, it stood about 33 m (110 ft) high. And when it fell, "few people can make their arms meet round the thumb", wrote Pliny.

        The statue was 110 feet high and stood upon a 50 feet tall pedestal near the harbor mole. Although the statue has been popularly depicted with its legs spanning the harbor entrance so that ships could pass beneath, it was actually posed in a more traditional Greek manner: nude, wearing a spiked crown, shading its eyes from the rising sun with its right hand, while holding a cloak over its left.

        The statue was constructed using bronze plates over an iron framework. According to the book of Pilon of Byzantium, 15 tons of bronze were used and 9 tons of iron, though these numbers seem low.

        Ancient accounts tell us that inside the statue were several stone columns which acted as the main support. Iron beams were driven into the stone and connected with the bronze outer skin. Each bronze plate had to be carefully cast then hammered into the right shape for its location in the figure, then hoisted into position and riveted to the surrounding plates and the iron frame.

Pyramids of EgyptHanging Garden of BabylonStatue of Zeus
Temple of Artemis at EphesusMausoleum of Halicarnassus
Colossus of RhodesPharos of Alexandria

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